The Speechless Animal
In the glance of the speechless animal there is a discourse
that only the soul of the wise can really understand.
An Indian Poet.
In the twilight of a beautiful day, when fancy seized upon my mind, I passed by the edge of the city and tarried before the wreck of an abandoned house of which only rubble was left.
In the rubble I saw a dog lying upon dirt and ashes. Sores covered his skin, and sickness racked his feeble body. Staring now and then at the setting sun, his sorrowful eyes expressed humiliation, despair, and misery.
I walked slowly toward him wishing that I knew animal speech so that I might console him with my sympathy. But my approach only terrified him, and he tried to rise on his palsied legs. Falling, he turned a look on me in which helpless wrath was mingled with supplication. In that glance was speech more lucid than man’s and more moving than a woman’s tears. This is what I understood him to say:
“Man, I have suffered through illness caused by your brutality and persecution. “I have run from your bruising foot and taken refuge here, for dust and ashes are gentler than man’s heart, these ruins less melancholy than the soul of man. Begun, you intruder from the world of misrule and injustice.
“I am a miserable creature who served the son of Adam with faith and loyalty, I was man’s faithful companion, I guarded him day and night. I grieved during his absence and welcomed him with joy upon his return, I wan contented with the crumbs that fell from his board, and happy with the bones that his teeth had striped, but when I grew old and ill, he grove me from his home and left me to merciless boys of the alleys.
“Oh son of Adam, I see the similarity between me and your fellow men when age disables them. There are soldiers who fought for their country when then were in the prime of life, and who later tilled its soil. But now that the winter of their life has come and they are useful no longer, they are cast aside.
“I also see a resemblance between my lot and that of a woman who, during the days of her lovely maidenhood enlivened the heart of a young man; and who then, as a mother, devoted her life to her children. But now, grown old, she is ignored and avoided. How oppressive you are, son of Adam, and how cruel!”
Thus spoke the speechless animal whom my heart had understood.